The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública (MSP) – Ministry of Public Security – said it is maintaining “normal surveillance” in the northern borders in the event of a possible massive entry of Nicaraguans.

The Costa Rica – Nicaragua land border crossing at Peñas Blancas (from the Costa Rica side). Photo by Rico / QCR

The Minister the MSP, Michael Soto Rojas, who, on Friday during the graduation ceremony of 304 new Fuerza Publica (national police) officers, La Sabana, San Jose, said that for the moment what they have are unconfirmed versions of a wave of people from Nicaragua headed towards Costa Rica.

“We have press information but the presence of Nicaraguans in the border areas have not increased,” he said.

Given this, Soto said that, for the moment, there are no changes to border staff. “We have the Border Police that is prominent in the entire border, in places Tablillas de Los Chiles, Alajuela and in Peñas Blancas, Guanacaste, where there are authorized posts for the legal entry of people,” he explained.

A possible wave of Nicaraguans arriving in Costa Rica stems from the escalated anti-government protests that have gripped Nicaragua since April 18 and resulting in at least 135 deaths and more than 1,000 injured.

In recent days, blockades have intensified and now cover at least 70% of the Nicaraguan major roads, in major cities in ten different departments (provinces).

Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister, Epsy Campbell, confirmed that the number of refugee requests by Nicaraguans has multiplied but did not provide details.

Minister Soto said that an eventual wave was discussed among other State entities to prepare a government strategy. ” In Seguridad Publica, we have a plan to try to give basic attention to these people. Of course, that requires more advanced coordination with other ministries and organizations.”

Costa Rica, with a population of less than 5 million, historically receives migration from Nicaragua. Currently some 400,000 Nicaraguans, according to official data, live in the country, but calculations by non-governmental organizations raise that figure to double or more.

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